Briefing paper


This paper provides a broad overview of the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry in Australia, including finance for the industry. The paper shows the following:

  • In calendar year 2017, the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry contributed around 2.7% to the economy, as measured by real industry gross value added at basic prices.
  • In 2016-17, the value of Australian rural product exports totalled $51.5 billion, making up around 17.7% of the value of Australia’s merchandise trade.
  • Agriculture makes up the majority of the industry’s total contribution to gross value added, contributing 2.6% to total industry gross value added.
  • In calendar year 2017, employment in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry made up 2.6% of total industry employment, of which around 82.9% was in the agricultural sector.
  • In 2016-17, the largest agricultural commodities produced in Australia were cattle and calves, wheat and milk.
  • In 2016-17, the three regions with the largest gross value of agriculture production in Australia were Western Australia’s wheat belt, Victoria’s north-west and Darling Downs-Maranoa in Queensland.
  • Key challenges facing the agricultural sector are climate variability, pests and diseases and market volatility.
  • As at 30 June 2017, total rural debt was $71.7 billion, of which around 96% was held by banks. Other types of rural financing include equity finance and government grants and subsidies.
  • Submissions to the 2014 Financial System Inquiry did not identify significant structural issues related to rural finance.
  • Farm debt mediation and financial counselling are available to the agricultural, forestry and fishing sector through either the Commonwealth or State governments (or both) and/or through voluntary schemes.
Publication Details
License Type: 
Published year only: 
Subject Areas
Geographic Coverage